The New England Patriots recently released the former league MVP and dual-threat quarterback. Adding Newton seems like a long shot for the Lions after making their blockbuster trade this past offseason that secured 26-year old Jared Goff along with a plethora of draft capital, including two first-round draft picks in exchange for Matthew Stafford.
Goff struggled last season with the Rams despite still operating Sean McVay’s high octane offense. Many continue to point the finger towards Goff rather than give any blame to McVay for the franchise’s most recent demise. Although Goff and the Rams’ offense failed to show up in their Super Bowl appearance a few years back, they did make it to the Super Bowl; that’s a lot more than most quarterbacks can say.
There is one glaring concern I have about Newton. If he couldn’t make it in New England, what is to say that he’s got anything left in the tank?
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Bill Belichick is known for moving on from players at the right time. There are plenty of examples but look at Randy Moss. Moss post New England was basically unrecognizable, yet during his final full season with the Patriots, he led the league with 13 touchdowns and still managed 1,264 receiving yards.
Belichick is ruthless. Just ask Lawyer Milloy, Logan Mankins, or Richard Seymour.
You can’t say that Bill totally walked away from Tom Brady, but it was one of those situations where if you were to ask Bill to ‘tell me you are walking away from Tom Brady without actually telling me you’re walking away from Brady.’ The Patriots’ low-balled Brady, who had been taking a financial discount throughout his entire career. It’s clear Belichick thought Brady was done, but unlike most of the Patriot castaway’s Brady once again bucked the trend of quickly fading away into the darkness.
Last season with New England, Newton completed nearly 66% of his passes despite having a receiving group a tick better than what is currently in Detroit, plus he ran for 592 yards adding 12 touchdowns. Those 12 rushing touchdowns had been his highest total since the 14 he compiled as a rookie.
New England appears ready to turn a new leaf as they’ve handed the reins of the franchise over to rookie signal-caller Mac Jones. With the recent release of Newton, Jones won’t have a former MVP lurking over his shoulder.
The Detroit Lions could certainly use an upgrade at the backup quarterback position, but Cam Newton isn’t the answer.
It wouldn’t hurt to have Newton’s infectious smile around Allen Park, but with that comes the national media circus, and that is exactly what the organization entering a rebuild doesn’t need.
Newton is undoubtedly a better option than David Blough or the currently injured Tim Boyle. Still, understanding the organization’s current state, why would Newton opt to join Detroit?
From a schematic standpoint, Newton may actually be a better fit for Anthony Lynn’s play-action-based offense. Newton possesses a stronger arm than Goff but lacks accuracy and consistency. And although I am not opposed to Lynn’s offense, it may not play out as well as I had hoped at the time of his hire.
Let’s face the facts, Detroit lacks offensive playmakers aside from T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. Lynn’s offense motors when the run game excels, but with the Lions expected to be trailing for the majority of the season, having a true drop-back passer that can check it down accurately may be the better path to some success rather than the often scrambling, improvising deep-ball threat.
If I’m Newton, I’m looking to potentially link back up with Ron Rivera, who is currently in Washington, or perhaps agreeing to back up Jameis Winston in Sean Payton’s dynamic offense with the Saints. Another landing spot could be the Denver Broncos to push Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, or even the Ravens as an insurance policy to Lamar Jackson.
I can’t see Newton, at 32-years old, wanting to join a team in year one of a rebuild, knowing they’ve already committed to a proven NFL quarterback for the time being, and have basically an unrecognizable group of receivers at his disposal if he were to get the call.
If Newton did join the Lions to backup Goff, it would remind me of when Daunte Culpepper signed with the Lions at nearly the same age. Newton seems like he’s got more left in the tank than Culpepper did at the end of his career, but maybe not much.